WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide by the end of this month the fate of race-conscious collegiate admission policies, one of the major disputes – also including cases involving LGBT rights and student debt forgiveness – still yet to be resolved as the justices speed toward the end of their current term.

The court’s conservative justices, who hold a 6-3 majority, signaled skepticism during oral arguments in December toward the legality of student admissions policies employed by Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. The pending rulings concerning the two elite schools could end affirmative action programs that have been used by many U.S. colleges and universities for decades to increase their numbers of Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students.